IRKUTSK, June 8 (RIA Novosti) - A pulp mill next to Baikal, the world's deepest lake, has started paying three months of wage arrears to employees, the management of the plant, which closed six months ago, said on Monday.
The Baikal Pulp Mill had been pumping toxic waste into the lake since the 1960s and was forced to shut after switching to a closed water cycle to meet environmental requirements, which made the business unprofitable, and due to a drop in revenue amid the economic crisis.
"Overall, 87.6 million rubles ($2.8 million) are planned to be paid out to cancel wage arrears and compensations to the mill's dismissed and reduced personnel. All payments will be made in accordance with the Labor Code," the management said in a statement.
The plant, which employed some 2,000 people, owes the workers 100 million rubles ($3.25 million) for four months of unpaid wages and benefits.
The protesters, who began a hunger strike on Wednesday over the arrears, were met by Irkutsk Region authorities on Friday.
The regional administration's deputy head, Alexander Moiseyev, told the workers that a meeting would be held on June 10 to discuss developing small and large businesses in the area. "The creation of such enterprises will create new jobs very soon," he said.